The School Zone: News

2020 Principals of the Year

 

Terrace Elementary Principal April Falcon-Blanco and Spring Woods High School Principal Jennifer Collier were named Feb. 11 as Spring Branch ISD’s Elementary and Secondary Principals of the Year.

The two 2020 principal recognitions were announced as surprise honors during a district meeting of SBISD principals. SBISD’s Associate Superintendent for Finance Karen Wilson made the annual announcements. She was joined by Pam Goodson, district Board of Trustees president.

Both principals will be honored during upcoming district and regional events, including SBISD’s annual Service Awards Celebration in April. In separate but related news, SBISD campus Teachers of the Year will be named soon. 

The public announcement of SBISD’s Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year will be conducted once again during the annual Service Awards celebration. Principals Falcon-Blanco and Collier and their honors be highlighted there, too. 

SBISD Principals of the Year are chosen by their principal peers based on several key criteria:

  • Concern for all staff and students and the ability to inspire both of these groups
  • Ability and willingness to work cooperatively with all staff and administrators
  • Proven drive to initiate and implement effective strategies supporting continuous improvement in student performance
  • Ability to work with diverse community groups and all district stakeholders
  • Proven desire for continuous personal and professional growth
  • Ability and willingness to make meaningful contributions to education

Secondary Principal of the Year

Jennifer Collier, Spring Woods High School

When Principal Collier heard her name called out, she held back tears of joy and had a lump in her throat.

“There are so many deserving leaders, I really couldn’t believe they said my name. I just can’t stop thinking that I have my dream job, at the best school in the world, with an amazing staff, leadership team and incredible students!” she proclaims.

A 17-year SBISD administrator and teacher, Collier began her career in the district as an assistant band director. During the past seven years, she has led two district high schools, Westchester Academy for International Studies and Spring Woods.

“I am honored to be recognized by my colleagues with this award,” she also said. “There truly are no words to capture the pride and respect that I have for every principal in this system. The role of principal is such a challenging one, and to be noticed by those you work with closely with, doing the same work as you, is a moment that I will cherish forever.”

“I am proud to represent SBISD and Spring Woods High School for the amazing work that we do with students daily.”

In her first five years, Principal Collier was an assistant band director at Memorial and Spring Forest middle schools. She was an associate principal at Spring Woods High for five years before serving as director at Westchester Academy, a district-organized, highly successful, charter middle and high school.

Since 2016, she has served as Spring Woods High principal. She holds a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Houston. A bachelor’s degree in music education was earned at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.  

Elementary Principal of the Year 

April Falcon-Blanco, Terrace Elementary School

Here’s what people in the know report: Something very special has happened at Terrace Elementary School under Principal Falcon-Blanco’s watch.

Principal, on the other hand, credits her many SBISD mentors for her success as a leader. 

“Many of my colleagues have been mentors to me throughout my career. I would not be the leader I am today without their guidance and friendship. To be recognized by them is one of the greatest honors that I could ever receive. I am filled with immense gratitude and pride,” she said after being named this year’s best district elementary principal. 

Principal Blanco, who has worked in SBISD for 19 years, became Terrace’s leader in 2012. She first joined the district as an art specialist at Hollibrook Elementary. 

She served for several years as an assistant principal at Spring Woods Middle, and then after a short break returned to SBISD, first as an assistant principal for three years at Spring Branch Elementary, and then as Terrace principal for eight years.

At her principals meeting recognition, she was stunned to hear her name called out. In that instant, the day turned into one of the most exciting and emotional moments of her life.

“So many thoughts and feelings came over me so quickly. I saw the smiling faces of my colleagues around the room and my heart fluttered with admiration and respect. I imagined my students and wanted to cheer. I visualized my staff and felt such gratitude and pride,” Principal Falcon-Blanco said.

“I thought of my family and tears filled my eyes. I kept thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to be given the privilege to serve and lead.”

Principal Falcon-Blanco holds a master’s degree in elementary and art education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art and art history from San Antonio’s highly ranked Trinity University.